5 things to look forward to at the 2017 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai
Will Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel be able to continue their superb race pace at China this weekend?
The 2017 Formula 1 season kicked off in Melbourne, Australia (New Technical Regulations and all) amidst hope, hope that Ferrari, and to a lesser extent Red Bull, will challenge the Silver Arrows for the drivers and constructors title after three seasons of utter domination of F1 by the team based out of Brackley.
The weekend got off to a familiar start with Hamilton setting the fastest times in Friday practice, but the tide changed to a degree on Saturday with the Ferraris, and Sebastian Vettel, in particular, setting the pace in the pre-qualifying practice session having spent Friday night huddled over data and working with his engineers to find the right setup for the Melbourne street circuit.
Qualifying saw Vettel pipped to pole by the three-time world champion with his new Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas coming in third, while Vettel’s team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, qualified 4th; Mercedes and Ferrari locking out the front two rows.
The pace Ferrari showed on Saturday brought smiles to those in the paddock and the race lived up to the hype and expectation albeit devoid of the mass overtaking that has been a feature of the DRS era. Vettel showed great pace right from the start seemingly being held up by Hamilton in the early stages of the Grand Prix.
Hamilton tried to protect from the undercut and pitted early, as he was held up by Max Verstappen (to Toto Wolff’s disgust) in the Red Bull and this gave Vettel the opportunity to show the Ferrari’s true pace as he set some blistering times to take the race away from Mercedes.
The Australian Grand Prix posed more questions than answers; here are a few things to look forward to at this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.
#1 Overtaking in this new era of F1
The Australian Grand Prix, admittedly, was not as exciting (read: less overtaking). There were concerns as early as last season over the ease of overtaking with the new 2017 aerodynamics creating huge problems with a lack of front-end grip while following the car ahead.
The 2016 Chinese Grand Prix saw the most number of overtakes, and it will therefore be a great place to judge this new formula and the excitement it may bring or the lack of it.